How to Save Valuable Time When Looking For a Transcriber

How to save time for your audio transcription
Save Time when you need a transcriber

Do you regularly use freelance portals like People Per Hour, Fivesquid and Fiverr to name a few of the platforms out there, to economically outsource your audio or video transcription requirements? Then read on there is important information inside!

As a freelancer offering very reasonably priced professional typing and transcription services, I visit daily the freelance platforms that I have active profiles on to search for assignments with potential clients that I can assist with in their typing or transcription projects.

It takes up a lot of my time, but frequently time after time that frustrates the hell out of me, to be honest, is the fact that businesses, entrepreneurs, students, or anyone that requires outsourcing to a transcription service, fail to put four important things that matter most to a transcriptionist: –

  1. Audio quality
  2. Number of speakers
  3. Length of the Audio
  4. Turnaround time/deadline

Quite often people needing audio or video transcribed are under the impression that touch typists can type at the rate of speech, and therefore as an example, a 20-minute audio recording would take a professionally trained transcriptionist, like me, 20 minutes to transcribe into text.  This is in fact not the case, please see my post and Infographic Audio Transcription Time Guidelines for more insight on this.

What Is Not Helpful

This is a typical example that I see day after day when people are advertising to get their audios or videos transcribed into text.

Time saving tips when advertising for a transcription service

This example is better than some, it describes the length of the audio which is a good start, the format they would like the transcript in, which is generally Word anyway unless the transcript it being used for video captioning.

But, this example does not state how many speakers the audio contains, or the quality of the audio.  These two factors will determine combined with the other two points highlighted above, the time it will take to listen and type the recorded speech into text.  There are other factors also, for instance, if it is a two-speaker audio is there a lot of cross-talking?  Are there any additional requirements within the transcript required, time-stamping for example.

Advice on Best Practices

When advertising for a transcription service vendor, or freelance transcriptionist, it is always best practice to give as much information as possible about the audio.  To get the best transcriber for the job, it would be very helpful attach a sample, or the audio itself, but this isn’t always possible for confidentiality reasons.

By doing this it saves the transcription provider time from having to contact you asking these basic transcription questions that they need to ascertain whether they wish to submit a proposal for the work or not.  Advertising the basic details, audio quality, the number of speakers, length and desired deadline, transcription service providers know what they are applying for.

You, as the contractor of transcription services then do not get delayed with your transcription, especially important when you have a deadline to meet.  It will prevent your service provider telling you they cannot fulfil their part of the agreement because of incorrect or missing details about your specifications.  It saves time for both parties concerned and speeds up the whole process with the transcriptionist having a clear understanding of the audio content from the outset.

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Why Transcription Is The Best Option For Market Research

Market Research

Market research, as defined by students from the Student Enterprise Programme as “the process of collecting valuable information to help you find out if there is a market for your proposed product or service.  To have a successful business you need to know what your customers want and provide them with that solution and make a profit.

The definition by Entrepreneur.com is “The process of gathering, analyzing and interpreting information about a market, about a product or service to be offered for sale in that market, and about the past, present and potential customers for the product or service; research into the characteristics, spending habits, location and needs of your business’s target market, the industry as a whole, and the particular competitors you face.”

So establishing that market research is very much needed for any budding entrepreneur or business that is considering introducing a new product or service.  By undertaking this kind of research it gives much-needed data to enable an informed decision to be made, then incorporated into the business planning process.

It highlights how your potential customers are thinking, buying behaviours and location as well as being able to observe market trends and see what your competitors are doing.

There are two types of Market Research for the desired data to be collected.  Usually, if there are statistics that already exist, primary research will identify key areas to question that will assist with the evaluation and decision-making process.

  • Primary Research
  • Secondary Research

Primary Research

After reviewing the analytics that already exists from secondary research, you can then begin compiling your own fresh primary data to analyse to meet your own unique requirements.  Gathering the figures and intelligence that you need can be carried out using questionnaires and surveys or interviews with individuals / small groups.

There are two types of Primary research, exploratory or specific.  Exploratory is more open-ended and there is no particular end result or data point, it helps you define a particular issue.  Specific is very targeted to investigate a certain area or topic, and interviews usually follow quite a structured nature when gathering information by this method.

Secondary Research

As mentioned above, secondary research studies that have already been carried out and are publically available.  Already organised into specific topics, these can include government agencies, trade associations, medical councils, or businesses in the same industry.  The good thing is this type of research can be free or low-cost, helpful when starting out with your business.services or product.

How Does Audio Transcription Benefit Market Research Interviews?

When starting a new business or you have an idea and want to build on that, funds are not necessarily readily available for investment, therefore you may decide to do the primary research yourself, rather than to outsource it to a professional independent researcher or market research company.

Conducting interviews that you have tailored to your own specific requirements can be a great way of gathering the information and data you want  You can conduct these meetings either via telephone, Internet, in person or hold a focus group meeting.

To get the best results when conducting your interviews, record them.  Do a dummy run to make sure that you can clearly hear what was spoken about in the dialogue.  You are investing your time in this fact-finding mission, the last thing you want is not to be able to review the content due to poor quality.

Then you have to get the recorded audio typed into text for your analysis when you have successfully completed all your inquiries, and although that sounds easy, replaying the interview and typing everything into Word, but have you tried typing at the same rate of the speech?  Even for the quickest of typists, if you need to keep looking at the keyboard whilst typing, your concentration will soon get lost with what was said.  Then you will need to rewind to catch what you just misheard if you’re not using a professional transcription software player.

Sounds a lot of work doesn’t it?  Hire a freelance transcriptionist, like me, outsourcing my touch typing / transcribing skills and experience as Virtuadmin, to create your transcripts from the recorded audios for your market research.

Conclusion

There are many skilled transcribers outsourcing their professional, qualified skills on Freelance websites like People Per Hour and Fivesquid.  For entrepreneurs and small businesses, they are a safe-haven to find lower-cost talent.  You are secure in the knowledge that if the work is not delivered or satisfactory you have support to assist you.  It can be a daunting prospect hiring someone directly with no security for your money, I understand that.

Getting your completed interviews transcribed by a professional will undoubtedly pay-off in the long-run.  You have the speed of the turnaround time, compared to that of which you could complete them.  And the accuracy of the content, as transcriptionists have the specific software to replay audio at their desired speed, an expenditure for the software you do not have to worry about due to hiring a freelance transcriptionist or transcription service.

If you have been convinced to use an independent contractor, either through a freelancing platform or directly, see my Infographic ‘7 Questions to Ask Your Potential Freelance Transcriptionist‘.  Some useful tips and tricks to help you get the best transcriber suited to your needs and not get scammed by potential ‘typists’ that think it’s an easy job, only to find the rate of speech is too fast for their typing skills!  This can easily result in lost revenue, something I personally, as a professional freelance transcriptionist, do not want to see happen to you.

 

 

 

 

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5 Advantages of Outsourcing Transcription Services by Carey Suante

How businesses can benefit from outsourcing audio transcription

To outsource or not to outsource transcription services?

Many companies and individuals including law firms and real estate firms, construction firms, entrepreneurs, speakers, coaches, are choosing to outsource transcription services because they understand and realize the advantages of outsourcing.

Services like audio transcription requires huge investments if you want them in-house.  Transcription is also a niche skill set.  There are not that many people with the required skills and competence for transcription.  When you consider the wages, benefits and overhead of a dedicated transcription department  in-house it is very expensive for any company.  This is why many companies are choosing to outsource their transcription needs.

The digitalization of the recording equipment such as smartphones with voice recognition, secure online connections and a skilled freelance labour pool has made the outsourcing of transcription an attractive option for real estate firms, professional firms and law firms and other who record important meetings, telephone calls, interviews and the like.

Let’s take a look at the advantages of outsourcing transcription services to your organization.

At first glance, it would seem that opting to outsource transcription services would add cost to running your practice or decrease your company efficiencies. Not true. Advantages of outsourcing transcription services to a third party outweighs any perceived disadvantages.

5 advantages of outsourcing transcription services for your business:

1. You only pay for what you need, when you need it: Your transcription volume and requirement will fluctuate. Most companies will not need large volumes of transcription carried out on a regular basis.  This leads to transcription volume peaks and troughs. This fluctuating nature of your transcription requirement means it’s difficult to ascertain how many in-house transcriptionists you need to transcribe.  Keeping the least number of transcriptionists will mean they don’t cope in times of peak and keep enough transcriptionists to cope when your transcription volume peaks means your transcriptionists will be underused when the volume falls. So having an in-house transcription department is a bad idea.

Advantage of Outsourcing: You literally only pay for what you need as most transcription services only charge by the minute or by the line rather than the hour, and they are flexible in terms of capacity.

2. Outsourcing transcription saves money: The cost savings in outsourcing transcription instead of employing full-time transcriptionists in-house is significant. In the US a full-time secretary earns approximately $34,000 per year. Therefore, monthly expense on one full-time secretary is $2833 and this is excluding expenses on space, furniture, computer, electricity, Healthcare, insurance on this employee.  Also consider this transcriptionist will take time off for annual leave and illness, and you could be looking at savings of more than 30% of the expense by using an outsourced provider.

Advantage of Outsourcing: An outsourced transcription provider provides expertise and a specialised skill at a fraction of the cost you would need if paying for an in-house transcriptionist.

3. Access to experienced staff: Transcription is not an easy job. It requires focus and attention to detail as well as a keen ear. Using less experienced staff can result in inaccuracies and delivery delays.  Transcription expertise is a rare skill too.

Advantage of Outsourcing: Transcription companies are specialized service professionals. They are experts in transcribing audio to text. By using professionals you gain access to their skills and knowledge to give you a quality outcome. By using an outsourced transcription service, you’ll tap into a huge bank of experience for a small percentage of what you would otherwise have to pay.

4. Flexibility: Success in the your industry requires managing rapidly changing environments.  Transcription providers give you the flexibility to meet these rapidly changing conditions. The challenges for businesses include varying transcription volume, different turnaround times for different projects and cases, adding new services and departments, contraction, report format changes, etc.  These are a few of the curve balls a flexible transcription vendor can help your practice navigate.

5. Outsourcing transcription frees up time for your staff to develop other skills: Transcription is a specialized skill. Not every secretary or admin person can transcribe with accuracy and expertise. Most employees have skills that are better suited to other activities.

Advantage of Outsourcing: Outsourcing transcription means your personnel is used more efficiently and productively with minimal investment. This increases productivity and saves costs.

These are 5 advantages of outsourcing transcription that can help your business be more productive, profitable, efficient and competitive. We haven’t touched on the advantages of outsourcing transcription in terms of customisation, automation, universal access and standardisation, workflow process and branding for your business.

[This post first appeared on www.transcriptionpro.net on May 26th 2015]

*Virtuadmin would love to assist with your transcription needs.  See testimonials from very happy clients who have outsourced their transcription and typing to me.  If you would like a quote on your audio or video for transcription there is a contact form in the “contact me” section.  Have you outsourced your transcription before? If not, it’s very easy and simple, just send me a message and we can take it from there.

 

What challenges do I face as a transcriptionist?

I love being a transcriptionist and the challenges of keeping up with who is speaking and typing what is being spoken.  I always aim to give as accurate a transcript as possible when listening to people or someone to speaking.  I dislike using inaudible’s and a time-stamp to indicate where I just couldn’t hear what the person said, or there was unexpected sudden background noise.

When I agree to transcribe an audio I try to get a listen first but at the same time I have to keep in mind the client wants a quick decision and try to gather as much information and make a quick decision as quick as possible.  This involves downloading the files, transferring the file to my transcription software player to use in conjunction with my foot pedal, headset and ergonomic keyboard.  This is time-consuming and not really covered in the overall amount that I would probably earn.

If there is interference in the background then my software player does have processes that can help minimise this and enhance the speech.  Nearly always this helps to clear the audio to enable a more accurate transcript to be delivered back to you.

So for me, the challenge is better when the audio is clear and good speech clarity because I enjoy the audio’s much more.

Video’s where I can add the captions to them to enhance Search Engine Optimisation for a relatively small fee compared to large organisations that wish to take a whole lot more for pretty much the same job regarding SEO and using transcripts as a better, more efficient organic way of getting higher results in searches nearly always have good audio and much quicker to transcribe.

The client may also require research into the topic around the recording subject matter and it is always helpful to know if this is the case in advance.  I can then account for the extra time when giving a delivery date as I really do not like missing a deadline for an audio and not having the full information may result in this.  Give as much information including the nature of the audio, interview, video, as possible it does help.

So the audio quality and as much information as possible are just two of the challenges I face.  If the processes on my software player do not work I have to try and figure out another way to clear up the audio and I go to great lengths to do this first before I ever turn down an audio.  All again in my own time before I decide if I can give you a good quality accurate transcript for your hard earned cash!

If I can clear up the audio I’m on a buzz before I start as I know then that it will be as accurate is it possibly can be by anybody that hears the same audio, trying at all times to make it as perfect as possible.  A challenge overcome and feeling good to get that transcript delivered back to you on or before the agreed time.

Time-stamping may not seem time-consuming but it can add extra time to your transcript but a service that is available.  Every 15 minutes or so is not too bad but every 2 minutes or five minutes does not enable an even flow of transcription to begin because the transcriptionist is watching the time clock of the audio to see when to place the next time stamp.  It is just something that because we have to stop and start continually no rhythm is gained and why an extra cost is sometimes involved and time added to the delivery date.

Please do not hesitate to leave me your experiences or challenges as a transcriptionist or typist at the bottom of this post, or if you are interested in my service, would like to see the templates I use for transcripts, please do email me at transcription.service.vts@gmail.com and I will be in touch right away.

If you are thinking of learning touch-typing or a typist already but may wish to try diversifying into transcription again please get in touch either at transcription.service.vts@gmail.com and I will send you links and give you all the help I can to assist you in starting your new career.